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Tips for Employers to Keep Pre-Employment Background Checks Legal

Updated: Mar 30

Employers, big and small, generally conduct some sort of background check or vetting program prior to hiring a new employee. Here are a few tips to consider when hiring and vetting new employees:

- Use a third party to conduct any social media checks for legal reasons.

- Advance permission in writing must be obtained from the candidate prior to screening.

- Screen all candidates for all jobs to avoid issues with discrimination.

- A background check should be one of the last pieces in the hiring process as part of a conditional offer as to not exclude anyone from consideration.

- Be sure to review local laws regarding asking about criminal convictions and ban the box laws. Certain states also have rules about how many years a criminal check can go back. Seven years is a common limit in many states.

- Consider whether or not a credit check would be pertinent to the candidate's position. Usually credit checks are typically used for candidates working with the company's finances which require a certain level of trust within the organization.


Victoria Balzarini is an investigation agency principal in the Greater Seattle, WA area. She offers pre-employment background investigative services to employers, big and small. Contact her at blueeaglesolutions@gmail.com.



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